A theme in this blog and my life's work is the importance of intention.
But resolutions made because it's the beginning of the year are next to worthless -- even with the best of intentions. Resolutions largely relate to will-power, which is exhaustible. I would argue that good management practices apply to you as well as to your organization, and organizations don't have New Year's resolutions.
The idea of intention is both bigger and smaller than a resolution. It is bigger, because it starts with a goal that you can envision. The goal has to be a bit of a stretch, but something that you can really picture. And I would be remiss if I didn't remind you that it should be defined with a measure and a timeframe. Write it down. Make it your screen saver. You must remain mindful of it to be intentional about it.
When I blogged about time management, I mentioned that I have goals for every role I play in life: consultant, entrepreneur, author, teacher -- as well as family member, volunteer, friend, and individual. Jack Canfield suggests that you should have goals in the areas of finances, career, relationships, experiences, health and fitness, personal development, and contribution to the world at large. If you are overwhelmed by a lot of goals, then pick one to be your focus. Intentionally.
Then how is intention smaller than a resolution? Because month-by-month, you will take that goal and break it down into specific pieces (I call them monthly milestones) that help you sharpen your intention and move you closer to the goal. Then, week-by-week, you plan what specific steps you can take to achieve the milestone for that month.
Translating this for your organization, there should be a vision of a desired future state. You may define your vision in aspirational terms -- but it should also be defined with multiple measures and specific timeframes. From there, you develop strategies that will move you toward that vision.
Then what happens? Do the flip charts you've created on a retreat become a 20-page report that you revisit once/year? Or are you intentional about investing the resources needed to make it happen? Do you set milestones in monthly meetings? Are you measuring your progress at least quarterly? Where are the feedback loops that tell you an adjustment is needed?
Too busy? Jim Collins famously said, "good is the enemy of great." I suggest that a corollary is "busyness is the enemy of intention." If you do not have a standing meeting each month (many are weekly) to "touch base" or review financials or discuss customer orders or operational projects, I would be VERY surprised. Make time in these sessions to establish achievable monthly milestones and hold people -- including yourself -- accountable for meeting them.
Don't see that happening? Well then, you must not really want to achieve your goals and execute your strategies. They don't happen with resolve at a planning retreat. They happen with active, ongoing intention.
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